Friday, April 5, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes (aka Buckeye Cupcakes)



     You know peanut butter cups?  These are like those, only with ten times the intensity.


     What you're looking at is a chocolate cupcake, with peanut butter cookie dough baked inside, then piped with peanut butter frosting and dipped in chocolate ganache. Sound good?

     So my friend and I decided to bake something.  After some discussion, we settled on chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.  Apart from making the cookie dough, they took us less than 2 (really fun) hours to make.  Just make sure that you make the cookie dough filling part a couple of hours ahead of time and freeze the dough balls.  This way, they won't bake along with the cupcakes and get hard.

     And these tasted heavenly.  Surely, peanut butter and chocolate were a match made in heaven.  So creamy and moist, these are best eaten with a fork.   I was so excited while putting the recipes together, and the result may have even exceeded my expectations.  Without a doubt, these are my new favorite cupcakes.

     I've seen chocolate peanut butter cupcakes before, but I think that these top them all (not to toot my own horn or anything).  These actually have two layers of peanut butter within two layers of chocolate.  The cookie dough is enclosed in the cupcake and the frosting is enclosed in the ganache.

     If you don't know what a buckeye is (I don't really know, either) it's like some kind of nut.  For some reason, the term buckeye has also been applied to balls of peanut butter dipped in chocolate.  I know that buckeyes are the mascot of Ohio State because that's where my dad went to college.

     I think that these were partly inspired by my dad.  He used to bring home these brownies stuffed inside of chocolate chip cookies from work.  Those cookies introduced me to the concept of baking one dessert in different one.  Also, whenever we went to this ice cream place, he would order a chocolate-dipped cone, where the ice cream was dipped in a chocolate sauce, like how I dipped the cupcake frosting in ganache.

      Now, let's get on with telling you how to make these amazing desserts.

At least 2 hours ahead of time, you have to make the peanut butter cookie dough filling  because you have to freeze it.  Start by creaming together the butter and sugars.
Mix in the peanut butter. 
Stir in the dry ingredients.
And stir in the milk.
Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 2 hours.  
Place the frozen balls of dough on top of some chocolate cupcake batter.  I'm not going to show you how to make the batter, since it's the same as this batter I made for cake truffles.  
Bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes.  You can see that the balls of peanut butter will be covered. 
While the cupcakes cool (you don't want them to melt the icing) make the frosting.  First, cream together the butter and peanut butter.  I had just enough peanut butter left in the jar to make this :)  
Gradually add the icing sugar and milk and beat until fluffy. 
To fill the piping bags with frosting, I wrap the bags around a tall glass to hold the bag open. Then pipe a swirl of frosting on each cupcake (or just spread on the frosting with a knife or spoon).
Making the ganache is really simple.  Just boil some heavy cream and pour it over chocolate. 
You can dip the frosted end of the cupcake into the ganache for something like a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone.  
Or you can pipe it on in zigzags like my little brother is demonstrating. You can add sprinkles before the chocolate hardens.
Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

makes 18-20 standard sized cupcakes

Components

1 recipe eggless peanut butter cookie dough (frozen in balls, recipe below)
1 recipe one-bowl chocolate cupcake batter (not baked yet, recipe below)
1 or 2 recipe peanut butter frosting (recipe below, double the recipe if you want a thick swirl of frosting on each cupcake)
1 recipe chocolate ganache (recipe below)

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Fill each cup 2/3 full with the chocolate cupcake batter.  Then, place a frozen ball of cookie dough on top of each (it will be covered by the cake later).  
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted towards the rim of the cupcake comes out clean.  Let cupcakes cool in pan for a couple of minutes, them transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (about half an hour) before frosting.
  4. Fill a piping bag with a large tip and fill with peanut butter frosting.  Pipe the frosting onto the cupcake, in any design you want.
  5. With the ganache in a deep bowl, plunge the frosted end of the cupcake into the ganache and remove.  Alternatively, fill a piping bag fitted with a small round tip with the ganache.  Pipe a zig-zag pattern on top of the cupcakes' frosting. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
  6. Enjoy!

Eggless Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

yields 20-22 balls of dough
adapted from Nalini's Kitchen

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs (or 1/2 cup if you want more peanut butter flavor) creamy peanut butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup milk

Directions

  1. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Then beat in peanut butter and vanilla until well combined.
  2. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the peanut butter mixture.  Mix until incorporated. Stir in the milk until well combined.
  3. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place on a plate lined with wax paper.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours, until frozen solid. (If you don't freeze the dough, it will bake along the cupcakes and will end up hard.)
  4. If you have extra dough, these can also be baked into cookies.  Just take balls of dough, press down on them with a fork, and bake at 350*F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. 

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake Batter

yields enough batter to make 18-20 standard sized cupcakes
for the full recipe, look here

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling hot water or coffee (the coffee just emphasizes the chocolate flavor)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat with mixer or by hand for 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly pour the hot water or coffee into the bowl in a thin stream while stirring the batter.
  4. Go to the instructions for cupcake assembly (above) to bake the cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Frosting

yields about 2 cups of frosting (double the recipe if you want each cupcake to be piped with a tall swirl of frosting)
recipe from All Recipes

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tbs milk

Directions

  1. Cream together the butter and peanut butter.  Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time, until all of the sugar is thoroughly mixed in and the frosting is thick.  Beat for 3 minutes, until fluffy.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil.
  2. Pour the hot cream into a bowl with the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Let cool a bit before piping or dipping the cupcakes in.
  4. To store the ganache, place in a sealable container and refrigerate or freeze it.  Then just reheat it to make it spreadable.  It keeps for a long time.

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